LIG Nex1 (South Korea)

LIG Nex1 is a leading South Korean arms producer. The company was established in 1976 and is involved in several business areas of the military industry, including precision guided munitions, high-energy weapon systems and command, control and communication.[i]

LIG Nex1 started to produce the cluster munition Sea Dragon/Haeseong II Vertically Launched Tactical Surface Launch Missile for the South Korean Navy in 2017 and 2018.[ii] On its website, LIG Nex1 promotes the Sea Dragon missile as “a ship-to-surface guided weapon system [that] has been uniquely developed for Next-generation Frigate (FFX), utilizing GPS/INS guidance to target coastal and inland targets. Enhanced survivability of warships as well as better performance of joint operations with the army is expected”.[iii]

The Sea Dragon is designated Haeseong II in the Republic of Korea Navy.[iv] Navy Recognition reported that when the Sea Dragon was presented at the MADEX 2017 fair, a LIG Nex1 representative said the missile just entered mass production for the first time.[v]

A Defense News article mentions: “According to the [South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration] DAPA, the missile is armed with a warhead carrying hundreds of submunitions. These combine a shaped charge and fragmentation jacket, the former is used to penetrate armoured vehicles and the latter to damage or destroy [so-called] softer targets. Once released, the submunitions can devastate an area the size of two US football fields, the agency added”[vi]

The Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies refers to a DAPA release and explicitly mentions “Warhead: Submunitions” as part of the missile’s specifications.[vii]

The presentation animation video released by DAPA shows the Tactical Surface Launch Missile releasing multiple objects mid-air, in which explode in multiple small explosions on the ground in a pattern that is indeed that of submunitions.[viii]

A Navy Recognition Article cites a DAPA release in April 2017, mentioning that the TSLM missile is equipped with a submunition warhead with cumulative fragmentation elements, capable of “striking an area covering the equivalent of two football fields”.[ix]

Another DAPA video shows the testing of the TSLM. The very end of that video shows multiple objects falling in the sea – in a pattern equivalent to a cluster munition impact.[x] As was previously referred to, Article 2 and under (c) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) lists 5 cumulative criteria that a munition must all comply with to not be considered a cluster munition.[1] With the animation and test video clearly showing more than 10 explosions, at least one of these criteria is not met. There is no suggestion anywhere that any of the other exclusion criteria are applicable.

 

Conclusion

LIG Nex1 is considered a cluster munitions producer because there is sufficient evidence that it produced the Tactical Surface Launch Missile cluster munition after May 2008.

LIG Nex1 was contacted repeatedly by PAX and others but has not refuted this information, has not responded to PAX’ requests for more information and has not stated publicly that it would stop producing cluster munitions.

 


 

[1] Article 2 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions reads (emphasis added): 2. “Cluster munition” means a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions. It does not mean the following: (…)

(c) A munition that, in order to avoid indiscriminate area effects and the risks posed by unexploded submunitions, has all of the following characteristics:

(i) Each munition contains fewer than ten explosive submunitions;

(ii) Each explosive submunition weighs more than four kilograms;

(iii) Each explosive submunition is designed to detect and engage a single target object;

(iv) Each explosive submunition is equipped with an electronic selfdestruction mechanism;

(v) Each explosive submunition is equipped with an electronic selfdeactivating feature.

[i]       LIG Nex1, “About LIG Nex1”, LIG Nex1 website (www.LIG Nex1.com/eng/company/intro.jsp), last viewed 5 April 2018.

[ii]       Navy Recognition, “MADEX 2017: LIG Nex1 Showcasing TSLM / Sea Dragon / Haeseong II Land Attack Missile for the 1st Time”, 24 October 2017, Navy Recognition website (www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/madex-2017/5651-madex-2017-lig-nex1-showcasing-tslm-sea-dragon-haeseong-ii-land-attack-missile-for-the-1st-time.html), last viewed 25 October 2018.

[iii]      LIG Nex1, “Ship-Launched/Air-Launched Guided Missiles”, LIG Nex1 website (www.LIG Nex1.com/eng/product/product01_02.jsp), last viewed 5 April 2018.

[iv]      Navy Recognition, “MADEX 2017: LIG Nex1 Showcasing TSLM / Sea Dragon / Haeseong II Land Attack Missile for the 1st Time”, 24 October 2017, Navy Recognition website (www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/madex-2017/5651-madex-2017-lig-nex1-showcasing-tslm-sea-dragon-haeseong-ii-land-attack-missile-for-the-1st-time.html), last viewed 6 September 2018; Missile Threat, “Haeseong II”, 10 October 2017, Missile Threat website (https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/haeseong-ii/), last viewed 6 September 2018.

[v]      Navy Recognition, “MADEX 2017: LIG Nex1 Showcasing TSLM / Sea Dragon / Haeseong II Land Attack Missile for the 1st Time”, 24 October 2017, Navy Recognition website (www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/madex-2017/5651-madex-2017-lig-nex1-showcasing-tslm-sea-dragon-haeseong-ii-land-attack-missile-for-the-1st-time.html), last viewed 5 April 2018.

[vi]      Yeo, M., “South Korea develops missile with flight path-changing capability “, 21 April 2017, Defense News website (www.defensenews.com/naval/2017/04/21/south-korea-develops-missile-with-flight-path-changing-capability/), last viewed 25 October 2018

[vii]     Missile Threat, “Haeseong II”, 10 October 2017, Missile Threat website (https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/haeseong-ii/#en-2962-3), last viewed 25 October 2018.

[viii]     DAPA, “Possible to hit major targets on the … Tactical earth missile!”, YouTube website https://youtu.be/-knQgmIPu_g, last viewed 25 October 2018; see explosions at 0:11 and 2:07 respectively.

[ix]      Navy Recognition, “MADEX 2017: LIG Nex1 Showcasing TSLM / Sea Dragon / Haeseong II Land Attack Missile for the 1st Time”, 24 October 2017, Navy Recognition website (www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/naval-exhibitions/2017/madex-2017/5651-madex-2017-lig-nex1-showcasing-tslm-sea-dragon-haeseong-ii-land-attack-missile-for-the-1st-time.html), last viewed 25 October 2018.

[x]      DAPA, Successful development of ‘tactical earth missile’ with naval escort, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=WvUucH0Ol5s, at 1:13, last viewed 25 October 2018, also available at https://youtu.be/jSKo3LWsgXc, last viewed 25 October 2018.


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